In autumn 1998, while planning Finland’s contribution to the World Fair, Finpro assigned the Heureka Science Centre to design an exhibition with technical help from the University of Lapland’s Mediaspace virtual reality laboratory and Helsinki University of Technology. The idea was to create a peaceful island in the middle of the busy fair where visitors could enjoy surprising and memorable experiences. The resulting “Room of Silence” took visitors far away to Finland’s forests and lakes.
The latest IT solutions were harnessed to create experiences for the exhibition. 3D-animated animal characters and natural elements were combined in a large photographic image of a natural scene, complemented by genuine soundscapes and impressive acoustics.
The Room of Silence represents a striking collage of real-life natural phenomena. The experience starts with the peaceful sound of running water, which is then disturbed by the tapping of a black woodpecker and the haunting calls of cranes and black-throated divers, before swans take flight. The song of the nightjar then accompanies an aerial dance performed by butterflies and dragonflies. A pike flashes through the water, while a Saimaa ringed seal and an elk also put in appearances.
Take this last chance to experience the Room of Silence – and suggest new ideas for future virtual natural experiences for Lusto’s visitors!
The Room of Silence was moved to Lusto in 2001, thanks to funding from the Finnish Forest Foundation. It differed greatly from the museum’s other exhibits, and the idea of giving visitors a special experience worked splendidly, leaving them charmed, relaxed and transported into nature by the darkness and acoustic softness of the space.
Thanks to creative technical solutions, the Room of Silence has been kept open at Lusto for many more years than was originally planned. But it will now fall silent forever, since its equipment is now obsolete, spare parts are no longer available, and it is not technically possible to run it using more modern equipment.
The Room of Silence will remain open until 7th January 2018. Lusto is already starting to plan a new virtual nature experience and seek suitable partners. We hope you might be able to contribute by letting us know what kinds of experiences you would like to enjoy at Lusto in future. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts on the Room of Silence and your ideas for new virtual natural experiences with us – either by talking to us at the museum, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.